EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Thursday condemned Iranian first Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi for a speech he gave at a UN conference in Tehran earlier this week in which he blamed Jews for controlling the international drug trade.
"The High Representative is deeply disturbed by racist and anti-Semitic statements made by Iranian First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi at the UN International Day against Drug Abuse," Ashton stated.
The European official added that such statements are "unacceptable," and reiterated the "EU\’s absolute commitment to combating racism and anti-Semitism."
During his speech, the Iranian first Vice President Rahimi blamed Judaism for the spread of illegal drugs around the world and said that the Talmud teaches to “destroy everyone who opposes the Jews.”
He went on to assert that there are no drug addicts who are Zionists: “The Islamic Republic of Iran will pay for anybody who can research and find one single Zionist who is an addict. They do not exist. This is the proof of their involvement in drugs trade,” the New York Times quoted Rahimi as saying.
Diplomats present at the conference criticized the speech, but remained for the rest of the event.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman harshly condemned the comments. “Hitler also said crazy things and succeeded in carrying out his plan,” Liberman stated, adding that the world has not yet fully come to understand the danger that Iran poses.
The foreign minister added that “the fact that UN representatives and representatives of European nations are still participating in conferences held in Tehran, in which the worst kind of anti-Semitics remarks are made, legitimizes the the regime of the Ayatollahs.”
The Anti-Defamation League called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to condemn the speech. "One would hope that this resurgence of dangerous anti-Semitic themes at a UN conference in Tehran would shake up the moral, political, religious leadership to condemn it with a strong voice," ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said.